Death Of An Ensign

I watched a couple of Star Trek Voyager episodes today. This one, Latent Image, is one that Robert Picardo (The Doctor) calls his favourite. It’s about the choice that the Doctor had to make regarding treating two patients, with the same injuries and with the same chance of survival. He can only treat one at a time and so has to choose between the two patients. He makes a choice – which he later thinks is because he was closer to that ensign and though of him as a friend.

Ensign Ahni Jetal is shown as having celebrated her birthday in the mess hall in a surprise party thrown by the senior officers. Later she joins Ensign Harry Kim and the Doctor on an away mission in one of the shuttle crafts. During the mission, an unidentified ship attacks the trio and one of the aliens beams himself into the shuttle and fires his deadly weapon on all three. Being a hologram, the Doctor is unhurt and quickly beams the alien out of the ship. Voyager rescues the shuttle and the Doctor has little time to treat the two injured ensigns.

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He is faced with a decision – choose one patient to treat first. He looks at both the ensigns and starts the surgery on Kim. Once he is done, he turns his attention to Jetal but she dies. There was not enough time to save them both. Later, the Doctor’s experiences a conflict in his programming that couldn’t be resolved. His ethical & personality subroutines develops a feedback loop over & over – in essence, he is finding it difficult to reconsile with the fact that he chose a friend over another patient for treatment and he blames himself for Jetal’s death.

The Doctor feels guilt over this and starts ruminating loudly and is unable to perform his duties. So it was decided to have his memories deleted about this incident and reprogrammed. 18 months later he comes to find out about this and starts to have the same effect. Only this time, he is allowed by Captain Janeway to go through the issues and come to terms with it & resolve them in due time.

This is one of those episodes which leads me to sometimes think that Robert Picardo was the best ever actor in the Star Trek universe and that the Doctor was the best character too!

The Body Is No More But What About You

I’m an atheist and a strong one at that, so I do not hold the same beliefs as most of you who do. While watching something on tv, I was made to think about death. I do not know what happens to us after we die (and religious people, neither do you!) and can only speculate as to whether there is an afterlife or not.

Now, when I say afterlife or even if I may venture and say ‘heaven’ – it’s not the kind of afterlife that a lot of you might envision. I do not believe that when one dies ‘we will be embraced by the loving arms of the almighty and he will love us forever’. Yuck! I just want to puke when I think of that. I remember this woman who said it and I looked at her as if she was mad!

But after we die, our bodies decay and only the bones are left. Do our ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ or whatever that makes us ‘us’ go on? Do we move on to a more enlightened sense of being or ascend to a higher plan? Or do we get reborn as another human being as so many hindus tend to believe? That is a classic one. Coming back as a new human being.

The idea that you never really die but keep getting re-incarnated as different humans but with no recollection of who you were in you previous avatar is quite popular. Many chances for your soul but you don’t retain any of the skills, memories or experiences that you had in the previous one. Except ofcourse, that is, if you happen to be a Cylon!

I don’t think that it can be so. I think one life is it – you don’t get to come back and get reborn. My late maternal grandmother once told me (I don’t know how it came up; probably was casual talk during lunch) that she left that bad people get reborn as dogs and they have to live out a life as a dog for the crimes & wrong doings that they had commited. She might have said Nambudhuris, (a caste in the regional Hindu community) as I have heard that from someone else as well, instead of just all humans.

My answer : I told her that she shouldn’t insult them poor dogs in such a manner. I told her that dogs do not commit crimes and do evil things the way humans do, so why pick on them. And then I told her that it was probably the other way round. Bad dogs probably get punished by being born as a human being and have to endure a life as a man or woman!

You should have seen the look on her face! It was priceless

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Laptops & Notebooks Galore…But None For Me

Everywhere I turn around, I see people using laptops. I can’t escape from it – it’s all around me. Funny thing is that kids are getting laptops too!

It seems that most of the good brands, even with the drop in prices for most things, have priced laptops way too high. I can’t afford one. ‘I’m willing to put in my current 2.5 year old desktop and a brand new external dvd drive to cut the cost. But unless I get that promotion money, I still won’t be able to afford a good laptop. My usage is limited – mostly the internet, a couple of games like NHL & FIFI 08, ppts-word documents-excel sheets for work, watching movies on dvds & ofcourse playing my rather extensive collection of mp3s.

That’s all I need. Surely I should be able to get a laptop within the next couple of months. I can’t wait to be rid of all these wires and save space. To be able to carry my computer to the living room or take it to coffee-shops so I can’t enjoy some wireless internet while sipping on a mocha frappe!

I’m looking at Acer models, like the one pictured in this post. Oh yes, she will be mine!